Six-storey development approved opposite Simar nature reserve

The Xemxija development will see the construction of apartments reaching up to a height of six storeys abutting over the reserve

The Planning Authority on Wednesday approved the development of a six-storey apartment block opposite the Simar Nature Reserve in Xemxija which will replace an existing two-storey dwelling.

The development will see the construction of apartments reaching up to a height of six storeys abutting over the reserve, despite the area having a height limitation policy permitting up to a maximum of only four floors.

The development will be crammed in a building height of 22m as dictated by policy guidelines issued in 2015 which have now overruled local plans.

Conservationists BirdLife had expressed its concern that the permit will set a precedent for more development in the area, noting that when the bird reserve was created in 1992 development in the area was limited to two storeys.

In subsequent years the site had seen “little or no development” impinging on the reserve.

The organisation warned that further development will result in “further disturbance to this sensitive site” in terms of construction noise and an increase in residents.

BirdLife Malta had objected to the development and had called for the intervention of the Environment and Resources Authority to ensure that any development is sensitive to the ecology of the designated protected bird sanctuary located just a few meters away.  

Since the site is located opposite is-Simar Nature Reserve, a method statement proposing mitigation measures to minimise noise and dust pollution during the demolition and construction phases has been submitted by the developer.

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